The Pittsburgh Steelers had some tough decisions to make when it came to roster cuts, but did they mess up by releasing John Leglue?
Hours before the NFL cut-down deadline, fans around the league were actively searching to see who would be the odd men out on their football team. The Pittsburgh Steelers had some difficult decisions to make with players on their roster bubble. One of the first big decisions they made was releasing offensive guard, John Leglue.
Leglue entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2019 after playing his college ball at Tulane, but he didn’t see his first NFL action until late last season when Kevin Dotson was sidelined with a high ankle sprain.
In Week 12, Leglue saw his first snaps in the NFL. He would go on to start the remaining five games of the 2021 season. Surprisingly, the results weren’t nearly as bad as many anticipated. Despite seemingly coming out of nowhere, Leglue was hardly the weakest link on a young, struggling offensive line. In fact, there were games where he actually played quite well.
Though his sample was relatively small (6 games, 5 starts), Leglue earned the 28th-highest pass-block grade among 80 qualifying NFL guards last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Like everyone on the Steelers offensive line, he had his struggles, but he certainly looked like he was deserving of a roster spot.
Did Steelers cut the wrong offensive guard?
I don’t think that John was going to be the (Le)glue that would hold this offensive line together, but I thought he did well enough to earn a spot on the Steelers roster this year. In his first preseason game against the Jaguars, Leglue graded out as the second-best offensive player on the team — higher than any offensive lineman in Pittsburgh.
Sadly, Leglue will try to press his luck with another organization if he doesn’t sign to the Steelers practice squad. With how poorly Kendrick Green played this summer (as well as his rookie season), I think fans have the right to wonder if the Steelers made the right choice.
The Steelers experimented with moving Green to guard this offseason, and the results couldn’t have been much worse. After struggling to hold his own at practice, Green was humiliated during his second preseason — so much so that fans wondered if he had any business making the roster.
The results with Green at guard have been even worse than they were when he played center as a rookie last year. It’s also worth noting that, while Green has played left guard this summer, he’s never taken a snap at guard in the regular season and doesn’t have any experience at right guard.
On the other hand, Leglue has experience all over the offensive line and did a serviceable job as a stop-gap starter when called upon last season. If a mid-season injury to Kevin Dotson or James Daniels were to occur, I would feel much more comfortable about Leglue entering the game than Green.
The Steelers are prideful, and the fact that Kendrick Green was a former third-round pick is going to make it hard for the organization to give up on him. However, I do think that John Leglue was the better player and would have been much more trustworthy as the backup guard this year.